Review by Choice Review
With this book, Boyd has exponentially increased understanding of the cultural genesis and evolution of the "new" black aesthetics. Written with exceptional candor, his book departs significantly from the convention often used in a critical assessment of subcultural phenomena. The language has an "in-your-face" tone, yet it exemplifies the best in scholarly discourse. From start to finish readers will be mesmerized by the "new jack" style, which takes lyrics by Tupac, Curtis Mayfield, Dr. Dre, Arrested Development, Ice Cube, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and others rap rhythm and blues stars and weaves them into a treatise on how black lyricism influences the cultural, economic, and political systems of US society. Each chapter delves into the value systems of the persons/music being discussed. For example, chapter 1, "Real Niggaz Don't Die: Generational Shifts in Contemporary Black Popular Culture," examines the role of a man who epitomizes "icon" status, Bill Cosby, and his declining significance. Chapter 2, "Check Yo Self Before You Wreck Yo Self: The Death of Politics in Rap Music and Popular Culture," explores how politically charged rap music has experienced an untimely demise. Other chapters similarly assess issues of cultural import. The epilogue ("Some New, Improved Shit") ends with a challenge to blacks to continue to articulate their cultural impressions. It is through such articulations that "our" take on US society and the world will become known. General readers through graduate students. R. Stewart SUNY College at Buffalo
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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